Football

Chennaiyin FC set to make AFC debut

Gearing up: Chennaiyin FC players train ahead of their clash against Colombo FC.  

Two-time Indian Super League champion Chennaiyin FC takes on Sri Lanka’s Colombo FC in the 2019 AFC Cup qualifying playoff round first leg at the Colombo Race Course ground here on Wednesday.

This is Chennaiyin’s debut AFC Cup campaign following the 2017-18 ISL title success and the team is placed along with Colombo FC in the South Asian Zone of the competition.

Chennaiyin is the first ISL outfit to participate in the AFC Cup, with this qualifying tie against Colombo FC for a place in the group stage of the 2019 edition.

“The boys are in good spirits, having arrived here ahead of what is a very big game for us against Colombo FC. We are honoured to be the first ISL team to have qualified for the AFC Cup, and are hopeful of securing a victory that puts us in a commanding position in the second leg.

“We are aware of the quality Colombo FC possess and expect a good fight from them,” said Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory.

‘Histotic match’

“This is a historic match in the club’s history, and we are optimistic of a good result.

“ I remember facing Colombo FC with Mohun Bagan two years back and they are a very tough side. It is not going to be an easy game,” said star striker Jeje Lalpekhlua.

Chennaiyin welcomed back Indian midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh into the squad after he missed out on the 2018-19 ISL season with a knee injury.

Australian Chris Herd, who joined CFC in the January transfer window, will be the club's Asian player in the qualifier with the Brazilian trio of Mailson Alves, Eli Sabia and Raphael Augusto being the other foreigners.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 1:40:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/chennaiyin-fc-set-to-make-afc-debut/article26439864.ece

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